A woman has been arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle nearly half a million dollars’ worth of cocaine into the United States in the wheels of her wheelchair after authorities said they noticed the wheels wouldn’t turn as she tried to travel in it.
The incident occurred on Nov. 10 at John F. Kennedy International Airport when Emelinda Paulino De Rivas — a citizen from the Dominican Republic — arrived in New York City on a flight from Punta Cana in a wheelchair when U.S. Customs and Border Protection noticed that the wheels on the wheelchair she was traveling in were not actually turning and decided to interview her.
“[CBP] x-rayed the wheelchair and noticed an anomaly in all four wheels,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement following the incident. “CBP officers probed the four wheels revealing a white powder that tested positive for cocaine.”
Officers ended up seizing approximately 28 lbs. of cocaine from the wheelchair which translates to an estimated 75,000 doses of the drug and a street value of $450,000, according to CBP.